920th Rescue Wing trailers spearhead pararescumen recruitment effort

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Jaime Pinto
  • 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs
Ever thought about jumping out of an airplane head first over enemy territory? To the Air Force Reserve pararescuemen, or PJs, of the 308th Rescue Squadron, this is just part of the job. The adventurous duties of a pararescuemen don’t always appeal to everyone, which is why the 308th Rescue Squadron has gone to mobile advertisement with two newly painted trailers.

The pararescue squadron uses trailers to transport their equipment for training and exercises, but when SMSgt. Hiram Oritz, 920th Rescue Wing Senior Recruiter, saw the wide open space of the barren trailers, he had a different mission in mind. Now, the newly painted trailers serve as a recruitment tool by elaborately depicting the mission of a PJ. “The trailers are a great way to get rolling advertisement; in addition, the trailers are used at air shows and other events with high visibility,” said SMSgt. Oritz.

The PJ position is the most difficult Air Force Specialty to fill due to its stringent requirements, including more than 2 years of training and a 90 percent washout rate. “The biggest manning need within the wing is pararescuemen and that is why we have such a focus on their recruitment,” said SMSgt. Oritz. The pararescue squadron currently needs to fill 35 PJ positions.

This new recruitment push focuses on the effective manning of the PJ position. Currently the 308th is at about 66 percent effectively manned; however, that number is expected to drop by nearly half within the next 3-5 years if recruitment does not increase. SMSgt. Oritz has implemented several new ideas to help increase PJ recruitment, including the trailers.

Another implementation is a new PJ recruitment specialist, MSgt. Kristi Galvin. MSgt. Galvin’s new role provides a fully equipped point of contact for recruiters nationwide to get instant information on the requirements to become a PJ. With an average placing of 5 PJs per year nationwide, SMSgt. Oritz is hopeful MSgt. Galvin’s new role will help increase these numbers by educating recruiters nationwide.

In addition to the trailers and new recruitment specialist, SMSgt. Oritz is also putting the word out with recruiters nationwide through a reserve recruiter’s magazine. “You don’t have to live in Florida to become a PJ and that is why we’re trying to get the word out to other recruiters,” said SMSgt. Oritz.